Thursday, December 30, 2010

Matching Jammies...a Christmas tradition

One thing that I started last year that I can't WAIT to continue each year from here on....a matching Christmas jammies photo shoot!! The photos I got last year were just precious and I was determined to find some jammies that were just as cute as the ones I happened upon at Babies R Us last year. After lots of searching, I finally found these online at Gymboree and decided they would be perfect :) I even picked up some giant lollipops for the kids! Braxton wasn't too into this year, but I still think I got some cute shots :) I just love this!

winter jammies!

Nana and Aunt Kelly gave Reilly and Braxton some super cute winter jammies....they LOVE them!

Jamestown Christmas Parade- December 5th

Mom was SO excited when the lady called to ask if Teddy (the pony) could be in the Christmas parade this year. She wanted so badly for Reilly to ride Teddy in the parade! I honestly didn't know if Reilly would do it once she saw all the thousands of people around. I didn't know if she would get scared or anxious or anything. But, I went along with it!! Mom and Reilly spent lots of time out at the barn Sunday morning getting all the equipment and tack together. Then they took ribbons and bows and shiny things and tied them all in Teddy's main and tail. Mom even had some antlers to put on Teddy's head to make him look like a reindeer! Reilly had a big Santa hat to wear and mom had one to match. As mom's friend pulled up with the horse trailer, Reilly couldn't wait to help Teddy get on the trailer all by herself!! And sure enough, she lead him right on it without him even hesitating one second!

I must say, I was absolutely blown away at how well she did!! Not only was she SO patient waiting for the parade to start (she and mom had to get there so early so they could get in line) but she sat so big up on Teddy and just waved from side to side at all the people lining the streets! It was just too cute. And she had a blast!!

this was a miniature horse that was also walking near stinkin' cute is he!!

2nd Annual Rockin' Christmas Party

Wow. I don't really know if I considered having another Christmas party after the one we had last year, but since we all had such an awesome time, AND since my neighbors harassed me about having another one since I titled the first one "1st ANNUAL Rockin' Christmas Party", we decided to give it another go! And we had an awesome time, yet again. All the girls begged me to let them bring food so I didn't have to do it all myself but I kept insisting that I really did ENJOY doing it! Honestly! I enjoy planning the menu and putting it all together and then planning the presentation of it all. That's the part I get all excited about:) We invited 17 couples this year and once again, THEY ALL CAME (except for a few of the men that were traveling or at a football game)! This year I introduced dad's famous Christmas carol picture quiz and another one very similar that uses word phrases for the songs. It was so funny to watch everyone crowd around the kitchen table in their own little groups, whispering answers back and forth and competing to see who would win the Starbucks gift cards I had as a prize! They were so into it! And of course, we had the most fun during the Gift Exchange!! I like the way it's set up b/c I don't specify whether the gifts are supposed to be "real" gifts or "gag gifts", which I think makes it even more fun. There were some awesome "gag" gifts floating around, and the funniest part is how some of the intended gag gifts often get stolen several times! Some of the funny ones were a piggy bank that was a naked butt and when you put money in it makes a fart sound (Really, who makes these things?!!). Another one was a putt-putt set to be used while sitting on the potty; it was called "pot and putt"! A moose salt-n-pepper shaker was stolen several times too. Probably the gift that caused the most laughs was a picture of Shawn and I, in a frame, that Bert Wilder took off the shelf in our living room and put into a gift bag while nobody was looking. It was hysterical when Lisa opened it and thought I had wrapped up a picture of us as a joke...but even funnier when people realized that I had nothing to do with it!! We have such a fun and sometimes CRAZY group of neighbors, but there is never any lack of laughing when we are all together :)
Caroline and Thomas, Kevin and Brent
Chuck, Steve, Neal, Kevin, Jamie
Alli, Jessica, Christie, Beth, Caroline, me
me, Karin, Holly, Jessica

Olivier, Heather, Alli and Keith
Steve and Amy, Caroline and thomas
Bert laughing and holding "the" picture frame as if he knew nothing about it!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

sleeping good!

It's so funny to see the positions we sometimes find the kids sleeping in when we check on them before we head off to bed. But this night in particular, was something we hadn't seen anything before. This is how we found Reilly when we checked on her one night:


This year I had to get on the decorating a little earlier than usual because we planned our 2nd annual Christmas party for the FIRST weekend in December! Reilly loved helping Daddy put the lights outside and was SO excited when Shawn surprised her with colored lights for the new playset out back!

Reilly insisted that we have a star on top of our tree this year, something that we haven't done before (I have always just had a big bow on top). She told me that a star was supposed to go up there, "like the star in Bethlehem, mommy". So, a star we bought!

Starting the Christmas season right....with our TREE!!

We started the Christmas season the same as trekking through a Christmas tree farm on the side of a mountain up in Sparta, NC on Saturday after Thanksgiving....however, this year, it was done TURBO style!!! Honestly, I don't mind admitting that I am a bit of a Christmas tree snob and I do take my tree selection very seriously! My husband can attest to the fact that I sometimes can take 45 minutes or so to make my official decision, after 100s of trees have been considered and kids are running wild. This year was just a bit different and lead to different selection strategies!! This year, winter has decided to come early, and on the day we chose to go up to Sparta for the annual trip, it was 31 degrees with 22mph winds, meaning it felt more like 19degrees. Not quite the temperature I would like to be in while taking my time, very carefully sizing up every possible tree! This year's decision was based on one thing: what tree stood out when we looked down the hill along the rows!! I maybe only considered 5 possible trees this year before the decision was made, the tree was chopped, and we were nice and toasty inside the payment shed enjoying our hot chocolate :) But you know what, our tree was perfect and I loved it! Maybe next year we'll get to spend a bit more time playing on the tree farm though.

Thanksgiving DAY

On Thanksgiving Day, we were quite busy! We started out over at my aunt's house in Stanley with all my dad's family, whom we hardly ever get to see. This was the first time any of them had ever met Braxton!

Cason is Beth and Craig's son who is a few months younger than Braxton. The funny thing about having a big sister is that every time B meets a new friend (or just sees another child!), he wants to hug them, b/c that's what he sees Reilly doing with her friends! Most of the boys that B tries to hug are not too into hugging though :(

And we actually got ALL 30 of us together for a group shot...

Then we came home and hosted Shawn's family at our house for Thanksgiving dinner! Nana, Kelly, Shaun, Grandpa and Nanny all came over! We had quite a full house. Reilly had a blast decorating a white paper table cloth with "hand turkeys" at each persons spot at the table! It was a fun evening!

Thanksgiving: Part 1 & Braxton's 1st hair cut!

My mom and dad have been hosting a big Thanksgiving celebration at their house the weekend before Thanksgiving for the last several years. This year, we went up for the entire weekend to eat and play.

Before we headed out of town, we actually made a stop over at the barber shop for Braxton's FIRST HAIR CUT!!!! He was SUCH a big boy. He sat so still and was so into what was going on! It was really cute. Jason said that Braxton was "golden" for the way he was being so easy for him to cut his hair :) We think so too!!

Then we headed up Greensboro....For some reason I didn't take ANY pictures while we were eating, but, I did manage to get some afterward. Clarke and my 2 cousins (Carson and Cooper) came up, as well as Memama and my uncle Watts. After lunch, mom always saddles up some of the horses because the boys and Reilly ALWAYS want to ride!! Reilly has really become such a little horseman! She is in heaven out there at the barn with DeeDee. She has her own special helmet and knows all the steps involved in prepping and saddling "her" pony, Teddy. She is such a big girl and looks SO big sitting up straight and tall on the horses!

Later Saturday night, mom and dad built a bonfire out in the pasture for us all to roast marshmellows. It was super cold but really fun!
Braxton continues his "open mouth" kissing...
Brandon, dad, mom, Angel, and Reilly

and before we left on Sunday, mom was determined to get a "good" new pic of them and the kids...this is the best we could get.